Altimeter Report: Social Marketing Analytics (Altimeter Group & Web Analytics Demystified)

A Collaborative Effort Between Two Firms:  Web Analytics Demystified and Altimeter Group
It’s just been over a month since we published the Social CRM Research paper (over 36k views on slideshare) and we’re continuing our cadence here at Altimeter Group of publishing widely available reports under the spirit of Open Research.  This time, it’s different, we’ve aligned with who I feel are the smartest team of web analytics minds in the space, John Lovett (ex-Forrester analyst) and Eric Peterson (ex-Jupiter analyst) both of the Web Analytics Demystified firm.  Stemming from Altimeter founder Charlene Li’s (ex-Forrester Analyst) framework, we co-developed this framework, and put our collective minds to work on measuring the rapidly changing social media marketing space.   This self-funded research effort resulted in a thorough methodology as we interviewed over 40 ecosystem influencers.

Interested in learning more?  Attend the no-cost webinar by registering.

Industry Challenge:  “I can’t measure social media ROI”
Marketers around the globe are ranging from toe dipping to jumping all the way into the social marketing space –yet most lack a measurement yardstick.  While experiments can fly under the radar for a short term, without having a measurement strategy, you run the risk of not improving what you’re doing, justifying investments, and the appearance of being aloof to upper management.  To be successful, all programs (even new media) must have a measurement strategy, and we’ve done just that.

Social Marketing Analytics Framework

Finally, A Measurement Framework Based on Business Objectives
If you’re familiar with the Altimeter frameworks of developing a social strategy based on business objectives, then you’re in good shape, as this research report is the natural extension of the business objectives we put forth:

  • Dialog: involves starting a conversation and offering your audience something to talk about while allowing that conversation to take on a life of its own
  • Advocacy: activation of evangelism, word of mouth, and the spread of information through social technologies
  • Supporting: customers may self support each other, or companies may directly assist them using social technologies.
  • Innovation: The business objective of innovation is an extraordinary byproduct of engaging in social marketing activity.

Our framework is a common denominator, so if you’re already measuring converted leads, or actual sales from social media, you’re already a leg up! In this meaty report, we hope you’ll share with your marketing and analytics team, and use the actual KPI formulas to create your own cookbook.

A Nod To the Community Spirit
We’re putting a big stake out there, in order to further the industry to come together around a common set of KPIs and metrics, but we realize we don’t know all the answers.  In the spirit of Open Research, we want this to be an open framework (we’ve even licensed this under Creative Commons) to customize it and make your own for non-commercial reasons with attribution.  If you’ve ideas on how to improve it such as new KPIs, vendors, or approaches, we’re listening, and will incorporate and improve this community body of knowledge for all to benefit.

Related Links
I’ll link to others that extend the conversation (even critical reviews), feel free to embed the slideshare on your own site.

138 Replies to “Altimeter Report: Social Marketing Analytics (Altimeter Group & Web Analytics Demystified)”

  1. I've been tinkering with similar business goals, but I think these hit it on the head. Foster Dialog, Promote Advocacy, Facilitate Support and Spur Innovation. As always Jeremiah, thanks for spurring the conversation.

  2. I've been tinkering with similar business goals, but I think these hit it on the head. Foster Dialog, Promote Advocacy, Facilitate Support and Spur Innovation. As always Jeremiah, thanks for spurring the conversation.

  3. The only serious omission is NetBase and our tool ConsumerBase Jeremiah. I think you've seen the tool, but what we're focusing on is measuring the emotional involvement of consumers with brands. Instead of just counting words we are actually parsing sentences and extracting emotional, behavioral, and functional meaning from the conversations people are having online. In the end the most successful brands online are the ones that can motivate participation in the culture that surrounds the brand online, and we're helping brands understand. Word of mouth is incredibly hard to measure, but more and more attention is being paid to it by some very serious companies, take a look at the McKinsay quarterly on Word of Mouth Equity: https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/A_new_way_to_

    Cheers

  4. The only serious omission is NetBase and our tool ConsumerBase Jeremiah. I think you've seen the tool, but what we're focusing on is measuring the emotional involvement of consumers with brands. Instead of just counting words we are actually parsing sentences and extracting emotional, behavioral, and functional meaning from the conversations people are having online. In the end the most successful brands online are the ones that can motivate participation in the culture that surrounds the brand online, and we're helping brands understand. Word of mouth is incredibly hard to measure, but more and more attention is being paid to it by some very serious companies, take a look at the McKinsay quarterly on Word of Mouth Equity: https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/A_new_way_to_

    Cheers

  5. I appreciate the note in this on being open to suggestions Jeremiah. Being such a fast changing field, it's all about being open. I'm coming back to this when I have a chance to review because the slide show has a lot to talk about. Thank you Jeremiah.

  6. I appreciate the note in this on being open to suggestions Jeremiah. Being such a fast changing field, it's all about being open. I'm coming back to this when I have a chance to review because the slide show has a lot to talk about. Thank you Jeremiah.

  7. This post really only approaches the most rudimentary tools that only apply to your own website. What about real social media analytics that can track where people are talking about you (your competitors, what they are saying, what your share of voice is, what the sentiment is? Now its new world of analysis and engagement.
    With Regards
    Sofia Wilson
    Sr. Marketing Executive
    Datarecoverysoftware successful results

  8. This post really only approaches the most rudimentary tools that only apply to your own website. What about real social media analytics that can track where people are talking about you (your competitors, what they are saying, what your share of voice is, what the sentiment is? Now its new world of analysis and engagement.
    With Regards
    Sofia Wilson
    Sr. Marketing Executive
    Datarecoverysoftware successful results

  9. No one talks about pageviews anymore, they’re talking about conversations, engagement and how consumers interact with a company and/or product.
    Influence = the power or ability to affect someone elses desicions or actions
    Engagement = user actions and reactions
    Advocacy = engagement drive by a campaign
    Sentiment = contextual expression of opinion
    ROI = Return on Investment Yes this can be traced, tracked and quantified.

    The return on social media marketing can be measured just as effectively as everything else you do online. Overdrive Interactive has been monitoring and showing Fortune 500's their ROI on social media through their innovative Social Eye dashboard. http://www.ovrdrv.com

  10. No one talks about pageviews anymore, they’re talking about conversations, engagement and how consumers interact with a company and/or product.
    Influence = the power or ability to affect someone elses desicions or actions
    Engagement = user actions and reactions
    Advocacy = engagement drive by a campaign
    Sentiment = contextual expression of opinion
    ROI = Return on Investment Yes this can be traced, tracked and quantified.

    The return on social media marketing can be measured just as effectively as everything else you do online. Overdrive Interactive has been monitoring and showing Fortune 500's their ROI on social media through their innovative Social Eye dashboard. http://www.ovrdrv.com

  11. Karl and the NetBase crew.

    Thanks for the comment, we tried to include as many vendors as possible, but with such a fast growing field we did what we could within the time parameters we put in the scheduled methodology.

    Although we included 39 ecosystem contributors, I agree, it's time for another look at Netbase.

  12. Karl and the NetBase crew.

    Thanks for the comment, we tried to include as many vendors as possible, but with such a fast growing field we did what we could within the time parameters we put in the scheduled methodology.

    Although we included 39 ecosystem contributors, I agree, it's time for another look at Netbase.

  13. Matt

    We tried to get a healthy sample of as many vendors as we could, and were able to clinch 39 ecosystem contributors. It's a growing space, and would like to resume a discussion with Nielsen Buzzmetrics to get an update.

    We're going to take this paper on the road through followup blog posts, webinars, speeches, so be sure to brief us.

  14. Matt

    We tried to get a healthy sample of as many vendors as we could, and were able to clinch 39 ecosystem contributors. It's a growing space, and would like to resume a discussion with Nielsen Buzzmetrics to get an update.

    We're going to take this paper on the road through followup blog posts, webinars, speeches, so be sure to brief us.

  15. It just seems odd that despite having so many ex-Forrester people involved, no one thought to include the best performer in their Wave studies of this space! 🙂

  16. It just seems odd that despite having so many ex-Forrester people involved, no one thought to include the best performer in their Wave studies of this space! 🙂

  17. Pingback: Beat Social Fear.
  18. I've read about your framework with interest. It is good as a basic framework, but your metrics barely scratch the top of what is required.

    For example, when you focus on analysing user engagement, the number of engagements isn't actually all that interesting. It only tells you how strongly you managed to get people active around your content.

    But it doesn't tell you how many people actually got active, or what demographics they are. You need to know more before being able to make the right conclusions.

    For example, see a recent analysis of the average commenters on YouTube at http://www.vquence.com.au/2010/04/25/youtube-co… . The demographics give you actionable information – just knowing you have x comments won't.

  19. I've read about your framework with interest. It is good as a basic framework, but your metrics barely scratch the top of what is required.

    For example, when you focus on analysing user engagement, the number of engagements isn't actually all that interesting. It only tells you how strongly you managed to get people active around your content.

    But it doesn't tell you how many people actually got active, or what demographics they are. You need to know more before being able to make the right conclusions.

    For example, see a recent analysis of the average commenters on YouTube at http://www.vquence.com.au/2010/04/25/youtube-co… . The demographics give you actionable information – just knowing you have x comments won't.

  20. Great read, and particularly interesting when I consider it against how we've tried to create our own categorisations around “participants”, “shares” and “coverage”.
    Was there a view from the evaluation as to which tools (by category) are better suited to larger/smaller organisations? This is something we tried to factor in when running a tools evaluation ourselves recently (http://bit.ly/cf3C9Y).
    Cheers
    Simon

  21. Great read, and particularly interesting when I consider it against how we've tried to create our own categorisations around “participants”, “shares” and “coverage”.
    Was there a view from the evaluation as to which tools (by category) are better suited to larger/smaller organisations? This is something we tried to factor in when running a tools evaluation ourselves recently (http://bit.ly/cf3C9Y).
    Cheers
    Simon

  22. The engagement KPI we presented is a good example –but not absolute of all the forms of social media. We'd expect companies to custom tailor the numerator depending on the form of media.

    For example, the engagement formula that Twitter uses for 'resonance' is clearly going to be different than that of blog posts.

  23. The engagement KPI we presented is a good example –but not absolute of all the forms of social media. We'd expect companies to custom tailor the numerator depending on the form of media.

    For example, the engagement formula that Twitter uses for 'resonance' is clearly going to be different than that of blog posts.

  24. Great stuff. A bunch have vendors have been pushing some of their own thoughts in this area and there's been tons of theory chatter. It's great to see the right people taking an industry consortia approach to working out some details.

    Regarding comments having to do with some of these metrics not going deep enough, etc… I'd suggest that – besides these being early attempts – true KPIs should be very high level. One can always drill in deeper. As well, over time I'm sure people will take these and do correlations and such with a variety of numbers. And regarding those who suggest 'traditional' metrics such as pageviews, etc. don't matter anymore… of course they do. It all matters. To what degree things matter probably varies by content category / customer base, but it all matters.

    In the meantime, I'd suggest the following:

    * In “Audience Engagement” you have Comments, Shares, and Trackbacks in the numerator. Should there be a plus “other” category or should these categories be broken down further? I suppose if you want a hard industry standard comparable number, the answer is no. But it strikes me that there's still some question as to what goes into this. Are “commments” blog comments and forum comments and tweets?

    * The difference between “Sentiment Ratio” and “Idea Impact” seems subtle. Essentially, just whether it's positive on the Idea Impact side. Are both of these really needed? I suppose “Impact” includes the shares, but why not let impact be Positive, Neutral or Negative? (Because sometimes it will be.)

    Again, great job. Thanks for sharing. Very Tweetworthy!

  25. Great stuff. A bunch have vendors have been pushing some of their own thoughts in this area and there's been tons of theory chatter. It's great to see the right people taking an industry consortia approach to working out some details.

    Regarding comments having to do with some of these metrics not going deep enough, etc… I'd suggest that – besides these being early attempts – true KPIs should be very high level. One can always drill in deeper. As well, over time I'm sure people will take these and do correlations and such with a variety of numbers. And regarding those who suggest 'traditional' metrics such as pageviews, etc. don't matter anymore… of course they do. It all matters. To what degree things matter probably varies by content category / customer base, but it all matters.

    In the meantime, I'd suggest the following:

    * In “Audience Engagement” you have Comments, Shares, and Trackbacks in the numerator. Should there be a plus “other” category or should these categories be broken down further? I suppose if you want a hard industry standard comparable number, the answer is no. But it strikes me that there's still some question as to what goes into this. Are “commments” blog comments and forum comments and tweets?

    * The difference between “Sentiment Ratio” and “Idea Impact” seems subtle. Essentially, just whether it's positive on the Idea Impact side. Are both of these really needed? I suppose “Impact” includes the shares, but why not let impact be Positive, Neutral or Negative? (Because sometimes it will be.)

    Again, great job. Thanks for sharing. Very Tweetworthy!

  26. A nice report that has a lot of practical insight. Thanks.

    All this made me wonder — what social media measurement tools are out there to help get started? I trawled the web for a few days and came up with a list of *eighty-two* solutions of various flavors. And I'm sure I missed a bunch. You can see the list here: http://ianbruce.blogspot.com/2010/04/definitive

    Please — help me update the list. Thanks again.

  27. A nice report that has a lot of practical insight. Thanks.

    All this made me wonder — what social media measurement tools are out there to help get started? I trawled the web for a few days and came up with a list of *eighty-two* solutions of various flavors. And I'm sure I missed a bunch. You can see the list here: http://ianbruce.blogspot.com/2010/04/definitive

    Please — help me update the list. Thanks again.

  28. ”I can’t measure social media ROI” i thinks its not easy as SM helps and many hidden ways to your business which can not be measured directly….its not like PPC in which you can track your users

    SM is wide subject and used in proper planning can be huge ROI, infact in some SM, you have no need to spend money and return is great

  29. ”I can’t measure social media ROI” i thinks its not easy as SM helps and many hidden ways to your business which can not be measured directly….its not like PPC in which you can track your users

    SM is wide subject and used in proper planning can be huge ROI, infact in some SM, you have no need to spend money and return is great

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  33. hi,
    I have built a social media scorecard #smbc (that´s the metrics-language my customers understand) that implements strategy into action and your framework was really helpful. I will post the results this week on my blog http://www.rolandfiege.com (in German language; but I´m shure you will get the message – English version will follow).
    keep up the great work.
    Roland

  34. Glad to see these social media marketing review. I noticed that most of their objective is for their business development and I think that was a good idea. If they want a successful business they should provide possible objective.

  35. It’s an interesting concept you have here as I would never have thought
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    with online reputation management or social monitoring.

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